Memories can rise to the surface at any given moment. Sometimes, they just suddenly burst into view … so full of color and dimension that you feel as if you are living them for the first time. Other times, memories emerge when triggered by a taste, a scent, a song, a sight, a touch, an event, and even a story.
I always love hearing the stories behind the art. An artist may have an intent that led to the creation of the art or have an expectation on how they want a viewer to experience the art or a combination thereof. A viewer may or may not see or experience that intent at first glance, upon further review, or even at all. Even so, the original intent of a work may change immediately upon display or over a longer period of time for the viewer — and yes, even for the artist — for a variety of reasons. That intent can change over and over again during the lifespan of the work, too.
Knowing the stories behind the works by Aldo Fabían Ramos and Verónica Gaona in their show “Paisajes Impermanentes / Impermanent Landscapes” at Cothren Contemporary deepened my appreciation, stirred up some memories of my own, and heightened my connection to their work.
With Ramos, his colorful prints caught my eye as I entered the gallery, but since it was my first visit, I was intent on completing an entire walkthrough before going back to focus on individual works. It was my sister who insisted I stop and come look even closer at Ramos’ work after listening to stories shared by the artist’s sister.
You see, our grandmother was a seamstress. She made all of the clothes for my mother and her sisters, and for me and my sister, she sewed many of our special occasion dresses when we were young.
When my sister learned that Ramos’ “Vestido de Flores” series was based on floral patterns from a favorite dress worn by the artist’s mother when she was young, her heart was flooded with memories and she wanted to learn more. The artist came over and shared the full scope of what inspired his series.
In short, he stated “this series is a reflection about the transference of one’s love and essence, what happens with those things left behind by our loved ones — the tangible and intangible.” He shared that it was his way to embrace those memories and commemorate his mother’s passing now ten years ago.
Artist Verónica Gaona shares the stage with Ramos in this show. As a photographer myself, I was drawn to her captivating images, but what really caught my eye was her sculpture “Para aquellos que no regresan en vida, Siempre esta’ la muerte” (For those that cannot return in life, there is always death).
Both artists remind us how great beauty can blossom from pain.
“Paisajes Impermanentes / Impermanent Landscapes” is on view April 30–July 2, 2022 at the Cothren Contemporary (5016 Allen St., Houston, TX 77007). Visit by appointment – text or call (832) 767-8370 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates, visit www.cothrencontemporary.com. On Instagram, follow the gallery at @cothrencontemporary; Ramos, @aldofabianramos; and Gaona, @vero.gaona.art.